By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
DESPITE the reports of structural damages to buildings and homes that have surfaced in Grand Bahama, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard said it doesn’t appear as if there are any hindrances to the sporting facilities.
In Grand Bahama yesterday to personally assist his Marco City constituents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Pintard said the priority is now on the repairs of residential homes, but they are still looking at the reconfiguration of the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.
“We are going to make significant progress in terms of resuming the further development of facilities here,” he said. “We’ve already had several meetings with the sporting stakeholders in all disciplines in Grand Bahama.
“The last meeting we had with them, we took a look at the master plans for the Grand Bahama Sports Complex. We made some initial recommendations on how to tweak the drawings so that it will be reflective of all of the sporting bodies.”
Subsequently, Pintard said they went back to the original designer with the view of total inclusion of the sporting bodies. Unfortunately, he said one of the principals involved in the original plans for the sports complex has since deceased and they are in the process of having the firm designate a replacement so that they can complete the drawing of the plans.
“In the meantime, I’ve had discussions with several groups, asking them to come on board to partner with the government and I’ve gotten commitment so far from one group that will provide 50 percent of the cost for the construction of a 50 metre pool at the complex,” he said.
“Another group has also committed to helping to build six tennis courts within that complex. As you would know, we also started renovations for the BAAA’s Nationals on the track and field complex and we are using a construction company to continue to do some work there.”
With a new board recently appointed for the National Sports Authority, headed by Juan Roberts, Pintard said they have a mandate to reach out to private partners to see how they can accelerate discussions that he and the ministry were involved in.
“So I see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for us to meet required facilities,” he stated.
As a part of his visit to Grand Bahama to assess the damage, Pintard said he will give an overall view of the sporting facilities, but he didn’t receive any formal reports yet of any major damages.
“We’re looking good as far as our sporting facilities here are concerned,” he said. “The biggest problem that myself and Iram Lewis (MP for Central Grand Bahama) looking at the houses that were damaged by the tornados, it’s really bad.
“So we have a number of families, who were in one apartment building, who are now looking to permanently relocate.
“They don’t anticipate the repairs being done anytime soon. They don’t restore power here in Grand Bahama if there are any structural damage so people obviously don’t want to wait around for weeks, possibly months, waiting for repairs as they are without light and water because once the power is of here, depending on where you live, the water is also off.”
To compound the issue, Pintard said there were families who were still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and now they are compounded with repairs that were not completed from the last hurricane.
But he said as they move forward, the construction of the venues at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex won’t have any effect on the residential repairs that will now have to be completed.